Is your competition better than you at anything? Are you better than your competition? Do you learn from them? Do you share with them? I wrote this post over 4 years ago and I’ve been thinking about it lately. In case you missed it, here it is. Please read and share your thoughts in the comments.

Prize Corn



Sales Lessons

I started a subscription for a friend and set up their username and password for them. When they tried to log in, they got a “Sorry, we can’t help you right now.” error message. I put them in touch with technical support, but technical support had never seen that particular error message and couldn’t recreate the error message and was able to log in successfully from several different computers. My friend gave his username and password to his IT expert and asked him to try. Same error message. Let’s pretend I gave them a username of 2300 and a password of RRoberge2300. Late last night, my friend sent me an email that said that he gave up and didn’t know what to do. I replied that when I got to my laptop, I’d try some stuff.

I wondered if he thought the zeroes were ohs. So, I changed the username to 23oo. I got an error message, but not the “Sorry,…” one. I entered the correct username, but changed the password to RRoberge23oo. Bingo! “Sorry, we can’t help you right now.”

So, I sent this email to my friend. “I did it! I recreated the error. It happened when I used 2300 two three zero zero as the company ID and RRoberge23oo two three oh oh as the password. Were you using zeroes or ohs?”

I received this email from my friend. “I am mortified. I was using zeroes, but when I looked at the userid and password you sent me, what I saw was 2300 for both. Didn’t notice the RRoberge part until you mentioned it in your message below. Big duh.  Am so sorry for wasting your time and Technical Support’s. I am now officially “in.” Good grief.”

Hang in there. Here come’s three points that make the lesson(s).

#1.) Wouldn’t you assume that technical support would know about zeroes and ohs?

#2) Wouldn’t you assume that the IT guy would know about zeroes and ohs?

#3) I assumed that it was the zeroes/ohs problem. I never guessed that it was the username. (I had to read my friend’s response again before I understood this.)

The lesson(s)

Sales people assume that the prospect knows. They assume that they, themselves understand. They assume that they know the answer.

Don’t assume. Ask the questions. Incidentally, you might be worried about insulting the person by asking stupid questions because the asnwers are obvious. Apparently, all answers aren’t completely obvious and do you think your friend would rather be locked out forever or a little embarrassed for a split second?